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The Sicilian's Innocent Mistress Carole Mortimer 2022/8/5 17:02:18

Darci’s cheeks flushed as she recalled that he certainly hadn’t needed to use those ploys on her to have her hot and wanting in his arms. Much to her self-disgust!

‘You used them on Mellie,’ she accused angrily, that anger directed at herself as much as at Luc; she, too, had almost been persuaded by the novelty of a picnic, for goodness’ sake!

‘No,’ Luc said flatly.

A frown marred Darci’s brow. ‘What do you mean, no?’

‘I mean, no,’ he bit out tersely. ‘I have never met anyone called Mellie—or Melanie—Chandler. And as I have never met her, I certainly haven’t seduced her into my bed—with or without flowers, compliments and promises of furthering her career!’ he finished disgustedly.

He abhorred the men in his profession who did use such enticements on young and beautiful actresses, who were often tricked into believing that going to bed with those men would help their careers—especially as it invariably didn’t. It was usually the ones with little talent for acting who resorted to the casting couch, because any actress of any repute would make it on her own merits, without having to reduce herself to that level.

The fact that Darci believed him to have behaved in just that fashion with a close friend of hers certainly explained her odd behaviour the last few days.

It also explained why Darci was so confused about her own response to him….

Because she hadn’t expected to be attracted to him, Luc realised grimly. Had thought merely to attract him and then shun him, as recompense for hurting her friend.

All of this—Darci’s barbed conversation which had so attracted him when they’d met at the film premiere, the way she had deliberately stood him up at Garstang’s two evenings later, the pointedly cutting remarks she had made since—had been to exact revenge on him for using and then discarding her friend Mellie!

A woman he had never even met, let alone seduced into his bed!

Darci stared at Luc, more than a little wary of the evidence of his steadily increasing annoyance in the cold glitter of his eyes and the nerve that pulsed in his tightly clenched jaw.

Something was wrong here—very wrong….

She swallowed hard. ‘I don’t believe you,’ she told him weakly.

‘No,’ he grated. ‘I can see that you don’t.’

Her mouth felt very dry. ‘Well?’ she challenged at his continued silence.

Very, very wrong, she acknowledged, and she moved her slightly shaking hands behind her back, so that Luc shouldn’t see how nervous his icy stillness was making her.

But Luc’s claim never to have even met Mellie couldn’t be true, could it?

Of course it couldn’t!

If it was, then Mellie was the one who was telling fibs—and what possible reason could her friend have for inventing such a story?

None whatsoever. Which meant that Luc had to be the one who was lying after all.

Or that he had such a succession of women parading through his bed that he really had forgotten Mellie!

Darci let out a sigh. ‘Let’s just stop all the pretence, Luc—’

‘I would be glad to,’ he agreed, his eyes glittering with altogether another intent as he began to move stealthily towards her.

‘Wh—what are you doing?’ Darci prompted nervously, even as she took a step backwards from his direct approach.

‘Dispensing with the flowers, compliments and promises to further your career, and getting straight on with the seduction into my bed—or, as this is your apartment, your bed,’ Luc corrected hardly.

‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ she dismissed breathlessly, taking a step back for every one he took forward. Until—once again!—she found herself with her back pressed up against the wall and nowhere else to go.

Because the determination in Luc’s harshly set expression, in the darkness of his eyes, was enough to make Darci want to turn on her heel and run!

Luc came to a halt mere inches away from Darci as she stood pressed against the wall, his mouth quirking as he looked down at her and saw the apprehension in her expressive green eyes.

She might well look apprehensive—Luc couldn’t ever remember feeling this cross in his life before. And it was an emotion that demanded to be assuaged.